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Hi Blog. It’s been said that people get the democracy that they deserve. Although unduly harsh, that rings true today, as the results of 2012’s election have absolutely routed the DPJ and placed the old-school LDP/Koumeitou alliance and the even older-school Ishihara Party, pardon, Japan Restoration Party (JRP) with a greater than 3/4 majority (LDP/KMT at 324, JRP 54) as a total in the 480-seat Lower House. (Source: Yomiuri 12/17/12) This is well over the 320 votes necessary to override the Upper House’s vetoes, and essentially makes Japan’s bicameral legislature unicameral. This new parliamentary composition could very well squeeze out a revision to the Self-Defense Forces (calling it what it really is: a standing military that should be unconstitutional) as well as force a “revision of the pacifist American-made Japanese Constitution” out of this. More on this below.
The DPJ, for its part, was completely and utterly routed. It went from 230 seats in the Lower House to, as of this writing, a mere 57. Even in my home area of Hokkaido, a bellwether DPJ stronghold, the DPJ lost *ALL* their seats in their 12-district electoral system (with only two DPJ, including long-standing career politician Yokomichi — as a legacy vote due to his status as current Speaker of the Lower House and former Hokkaido Governor — squeaking by on the Proportional Representation vote). (Source: Yomiuri 12/17/12) This meant that eight Cabinet members lost their seats (two of them, Public Safety’s Kodaira and Health and Welfare’s Mitsui, from Hokkaido), which is by far a Postwar record (the previous record was only three in the 1983 Nakasone Cabinet). (Source: Yomiuri 12/17/12).
The smaller fringe parties saw increases more favoring the right than the left (as of this writing, according to the Yomiuri, Communists are down yet another seat from 9 to 8, socialist Shamintou down from 5 to 2, DPJ ally Kokumin Shintou down from 3 to 1, and the shards of other parties Mirai no Tou down from 61 to 9!). The quasi-libertarian but really all-over-the-map-just-vote-for-us-already Minna no Tou was up from 8 to 18. And one-man-party Shintou Daichi, run by the utterly corrupt Hokkaidoite and Debito.org bogeyman Suzuki Muneo, was also down from 3 to 1.
How to interpret all of this? Former and future PM Abe Shinzo rather glibly offers the assessment that the voters were “saying no to the confusion of the past three years” (a confusion created by people like him, note). I’m sure others have their reads, and we’ll let the Comments Section below cover that. My read is that people were voting less a “yes” for Abe (who was one of Japan’s most useless PMs when he was last in office between 2006-7) and more a “no” to the DPJ, who have had some of the greatest (literally) seismic shifts in power on their watch (the Japan Times editorialists would agree). If the LDP had been ruling in their place when these disasters all happened (given that the decades of systemic corruption were bred under their watch), I doubt they too would have been immune from the rout. That said, yesterday’s strength of the showing for the JRP I cannot interpret as anything other than a reaction to fear, particularly of a xenophobic nature (cf. China and North Korea, who timed their actions perfectly for the likes of Ishihara to exploit).
If one must search for the silver lining out of this election, it is that the far-right JRP didn’t pick up as many seats as was initially projected (100-150), but that was always just an optimistic guesstimate. And since both leaders of the LDP and the JRP have inchoate urges to mold a “beautiful Japan” in their image (read: more willful ignorance of history and nationalistic excess in the name of a more xenophobic nation-state), the real silver lining is that they have to come to grips with the unelected bureaucrats that are even more powerful and less accountable than they are.
What’s next? Here’s what the Japan Times says:
Both the LDP and the Japan Restoration Party are known for their hawkish attitude on constitutional issues. They call for revising the Constitution, including revision of the war-renouncing Article 9, and for exercising the right to collective self-defense.
The government’s traditional interpretation is that the Constitution prohibits Japan from exercising that right. If the right to collective self-defense is allowed to be exercised, Japan would be legally able to take military action to defend a nation with close ties with Japan if that nation is militarily attacked by a third party.
Attention must be paid to the fact that while a constitutional revision requires the support of two-thirds of the Diet members to initiate a national referendum on such a revision, changing the government’s interpretation of the Constitution related to the right to collective self-defense does not require such a procedure.
The LDP and other parties calling for the exercise of that right can enact a bill that will change the government’s traditional interpretation. Exercising the right to collective self-defense could open the way for putting Japanese nationals in harm’s way by involving Japan in military conflict not directly affecting it. This would violate Japan’s defense-only defense policy. Such a bill would completely gut the no-war principle of the Constitution.
The LDP calls for revising Article 9 to create a National Defense Force. Its draft revision states that the proposed NDF, under a specific law, can take part in international cooperative activities to help maintain peace and security in the international community — a concept that can be used to justify Japan’s participation in virtually any type of military mission abroad.
Even without revising the Constitution, the LDP may try to enact a bill to expand the Self-Defense Forces’ activities overseas. Given Japan’s military aggression in the Asia-Pacific region in the 1930s and ’40s, the LDP’s posture would arouse suspicions about Japan’s true intentions among neighboring and other countries, thus destroying the international community’s trust in Japan. It could also lead to a fierce arms race and destabilization of relations in East Asia, endangering Japan’s security.
Full editorial at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/ed20121217a1.html
Fine words. But who’s listening anymore? Certainly not Japan’s voters at this time. Keep an eye on what happens from now, folks, because I think that once the sake cups have been drained and hangovers recovered from, these people are going to get to work with a vengeance. Because for this generation of old-schoolers (such as Ishihara), there’s not much time left for the Wartime Generation to undo all the Postwar liberalizations of Japan that have helped make Japan rich without overt remilitarization and aggression. For these fans of a martial Japan, who only value, respect, and covet a world in terms of power and hierarchy, revenge will be sweet. For as I have written before (Japan Times Oct. 2, quoting Dr. M.G. Sheftall):
“As a historian, it’s discomfiting having anything smacking of wartime ideology making a comeback while men who committed atrocities for the Imperial Japanese military still live. While they deserve some sympathy for what they endured under an ideology they were unable to resist or reject, I don’t they deserve the satisfaction of leaving this mortal coil feeling that Japan’s war has been historically vindicated.”
I think that is what this election has been all about. It’s just a pity that so many bad things had to happen to the Japanese public over the past three years to cause them to overlook this hidden agenda. Arudou Debito
PS: As per the NJ-in-Japan bent of Debito.org, there is a decent assessment of how each party dealt with NJ issues before the election here. Thus the winners of this election are clearly not pro-foreigner, and I bet NJ in Japan are going to be clouted as the pendulum swings to the right.
89 comments on “2012 Election Special: Japan’s lurch to the right has happened, as predicted. DPJ routed, LDP and Ishihara ascendant in Dec 2012 LH Election”
@ Baudrillard: An exercise in “gaman” indeed. That’s exactly how I had to redefine my own stay here after the half year it took me to go from “Japan rocks” to “Japan creeps me out”. I have 10 months to go still, and every day I’m looking for ways to deal with the utter aversion and disaffection I feel with this country. I’ve become a hikikomori with a job 😉
With the (re)election of Abe it will be interesting to see to what extent the Nihonjinron
argument resurfaces. The ideology has been been an underlying one for a long time. It was very prominent during the 80’s and 90’s along with Dr Tsunoda’s right side of the brain theory.
Hosokawa was supposed to save and resurrect Japan .He didn’t last long
If you liked Japan for the first 6 months only, this is a typical pattern; the “honeymoon” phase.Then most people start to get annoyed by Japan. And yes, this IS unique to Japan, in European places the culture shocks is at the beginning and then you grow to like it.
Japan and e.g. S Korea are the opposite pattern.
So tell me more why Japan creeps you out. I dont just mean on the Macro, Govt level. This website is also interested in the micro (aggressions) that wear you down. Im my case, I left once, looked at it from the outside, laughed at it a bit, but still had things to achieve so came back. Then things would go along happily enough until every 3 months or so, something wierd would happen, like someone bipolar suddenly abusing me, or someone kicking me on the train. Or a disgruntled salesman threaten to kill me, etc etc.
This has been pretty full on since 2007 or so, not unlike the stereotype of South Koreans harrassing foreigners. Whereas in the 90s it was more shoved under the carpet or passive aggressive in Japan; you might get an ojisan mumble something at you and a Japanese you were with would explain it away as “its just him”.
But since the start of 2011 there very clearly were no real benefits, just banality or grudging tolerance or a sort, and then 3.11 happened and it became no longer worth it for me or my significant other. Or a whole load of other people too.
#20 Yokohama Michael:
“One thing that is certainly good about the LDP coming to power is that Abe will probably get all the nuclear power plants working again as soon as possible. The election has certainly shown that the Japanese public refuse to be cowed by a fear-mongering anti-nuclear campaign, and that common sense has prevailed. I hope you stop beating that tired old drum Debito! To try to shut down a huge and vital industry because of an accident that killed or injured noone…well, the idea almost defies belief and thankfully it has been soundly rejected.”
Two points here:
Firstly the overwhelming victory of Abe and the LDP is not a reflection of any meaningful endorsement of the LDP (and their stance on issues like nuclear energy) but rather a rejection of the DPJ and the last three years of bureaucratic bungling and mismanagement. Abe himself acknowledged this fact. The electorate voted on their displeasure with Noda and the DPJ (don’t forget the lightning fast terms of Hatoyama and Kan) who took power in a land slide three years ago but have failed the public miserably. If not the DPJ then who else is left to choose from? The same simplistic, knee-jerk view is shown in the endorsement of the JRP who have successfully managed to harness resentment felt towards China, Korea and America. Few people realize the inherent danger of empowering such radicals. But once again, for the average voter, who else is there?
Secondly if you are in fact correct then how is it “common sense” for Japan to embrace the LDP and their nuclear platform? Yes nuclear power is readily available, (comparatively) cheap and clean and yes it will take decades for renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal) to become a viable energy source in Japan. Yet this immensely destructive power source is now being put back in the hands of the bureaucrats whose weak policy and systemic corruption laid the foundations for the Fukushima disaster (which incidentally gets little to no coverage in mainstream Japanese media these days). For years TEPCO and the very people who were supposed to police them have existed in a cosy, symbiotic relationship where the name of the game is profit over safety. Their have been plenty of near misses. The infrastructure is out dated and any warnings about this get cosmetic attention or simply go unheeded. Add to this the fact that all this sits on some of the most seismically unstable land on the planet and you have dozens of disasters waiting to happen. Does endorsing this seem like “common sense”?
“… the Japanese public refuse to be cowed by a fear-mongering anti-nuclear campaign, and that common sense has prevailed. ”
Is this how the Japanese learnt to stop worrying and love the bomb?
“I hope you stop beating that tired old drum Debito! To try to shut down a huge and vital industry because of an accident that killed or injured noone”
Yet. Or does Yokohama Michael think cancer is a small price to pay for slightly cheaper energy and the trappings of a western materialistic lifestyle? Japan should learn from Thailand here.
Here is a piece about J Flyjin, article dovetails into distrust of the J-Govt and their cozy corrupt relationship with TEPCO etc at the end.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who read this with a sinking feeling:
According to the article, the newly appointed ultra-conservative education minister Mr. Shimomura seeks to fundamentally change Japan’s postwar education syllabus. “I am not saying that we need to go back to prewar (nationalism), but we need to teach our children the more than 2,000-year history of Japan’s wonderful traditions and culture,” he said. I hardly see the point myself, living in Japan you get nothing but Japan’s history (carefully edited), traditions, and culture shoved down your throat on a daily basis.
Anyway, perhaps we need not be too worried … in another year or so it’ll be another government, after all!
It’s not a good sign, is it.
I have said it before, and I will say it again; I defy anyone to show me a ‘Japanese tradition’ or cultural practice that is not a Meiji period invention.
Japan has more than 2,000 years of history? Sure, if you want to include all the cultures of the peoples who lived here before the ‘Yamato’ people came from the mainland and started rice cultivation. As Nara period national census held in the Diet library proves, 9 out of every 10 people living in Nara city when it was the capital, were born in what is now called Korea. I bet they won’t be teaching that.
This is just another manifestation of right-wing Japanese nationalism that is precisely aimed at going back to pre-war nationalism by teaching a distorted (and untruthful) view of the modern Japanese as being the descendants, in an unbroken line, of the people who lived here 2,000 years ago. And even 2,000 years isn’t that long. The UK has a 4,000 year history of habitation, and parts of Europe 6,000 plus!
I can’t agree more than Japan’s nuclear infrastructure is outdated. Fukushima Daiichi was commissioned in 1971. Despite this, it withstood a magnitude 9 earthquake, a 20-meter tsunami and 3 meltdowns, all without killing or injuring anybody. If that is not impressive, then nothing on this Earth is impressive.
During correspondence with a nuclear engineer, I asked him what he thought of the fact that Japan’s plants were old and dilapidated.
“Let us build new ones!” was his testy reply.
Not sure what the ‘trappings of a western materialistic lifestyle’ are or whether Japan should want them or not. As for Thailand, last time I was there it was developing rapidly and successfully.
No cancers yet. And the risk is negligible or immeasurably small, according to the World Health Organisation, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, the International Committee for Radiological Protection, the International Atomic Energy Association, etc etc.
@ yokohama Mike ‘Not sure what the ‘trappings of a western materialistic lifestyle’ are or whether Japan should want them or not. As for Thailand, last time I was there it was developing rapidly and successfully.
No cancers yet. And the risk is negligible or immeasurably small, according to the World Health Organisation, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, the International Committee for Radiological Protection, the International Atomic Energy Association, etc etc.”
You haven’t got my point. Japan already has the trappings of western materialistic lifestyles with an artificially maintained “middle class” window dressing.
I say artificially maintained as this is living beyond their means by
1. living in massive debt
2. propped up by the USA
3. Small defense spending (see #2, and why nationalist fantasies may well remain so).
Yes, Thailand is developing successfully and without 54 nuclear reactors thank you very much. And within ASEAN. Japan can claim neither.
As for your “no cancers yet” claim, well that is just being silly now. It takes years to show up, and it has only been a short time since Fukushima.
@ Yokohama Micheal #59
Even TEPCO’s internal investigation, headed by an American, released as one of it’s findings this year that TEPCO was aware of the risk of a meltdown one year before the earthquake, but decided against implementing safeguards because of the cost (Debito blogged about this, I sent him a link). That’s not impressive, is it? It’s not impressive considering that the official J-gov stance is that ‘we are all to blame’, and it is certainly not impressive in the light of TEPCO’s (now invalidated) claim that ‘we couldn’t have foreseen such a disaster’.
Yet, no one has been convicted, and senior TEPCO managers have been parachuted into top positions elsewhere. Not very impressive.
Yes, nuclear power can be safe, as the faultless record of USN reactors has shown. The problem is that Japan cannot be trusted to operate nuclear reactors safely and responsibly, in a transparent manner.
Since we cannot rely on the J-gov or TEPCO telling us the truth about Fukushima (since the disaster, they have been proved to be less than open with the truth) I would say that it is rather presumptious to claim ‘the risk is negligible or immeasurably small’.
Somewhat tangential, but: Beate Gordon, the last living member of the team that wrote Japan’s postwar constitution — she was just 22 (!) in 1945 — has passed away at the age of 89.
on the Japan Times just now, and had to sigh out loud.
It claims (based on research conducted in 2008!), that only 1.3% of heavy internet users (and therefore an even lower percentage of the population in general), support, and I quote;
‘a common lack of friendly feelings toward South Korea and China, support revising the Constitution’s war-renouncing Article 9 to effectively return the right of belligerence to Japan, and want prime ministers to visit Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, which honors the nation’s war dead, as well as Class-A war criminals. They also advocate an education system more indoctrinated toward patriotism, including requiring the singing of the “Kimigayo” national anthem and the flying of the Hinomaru national flag at schools,’
Gee, who are they trying to kid?
Did they just sleep through the whole election campaign?
Slight tangent, but interesting how a South Korean was abused by Police in Greece, with their nationalism running high on their economic woes:
I wonder if any abuses shall be so publicly raised here, by outside media, as it is almost a foregone conclusion that such events shall be on the rise here too.
So, the J Gov.t feels it is perfectly within its right to protect ‘some’ islands and wants to show its force. Look how big and angry we can be, because everyone is against us, poor us, boo hoo…since they wish to control the narrative.
Yet when the shoe is on the other foot, that being Algeria taking “robust” action, the same kind of action those right-wing wrinklies form a forgotten era wish Abe would take, look at the response:
“..Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, expressed “deep regret” at the actions of the Algerian security forces and its foreign ministry summoned the Algerian ambassador…”
Pathetic all of them. They talk of aggression…yet have no stomach for it in the real world.
Funny how real actions has consequences, an not just for one side 🙁
— Not quite sure how this relates.
But Algeria has now given more fuel fro the cause of having a full-blown military in name and deed:
@ Andrew in Saitama #66
Yes, I saw this too. It will be another excuse to amend the constitution. Gee, I sure hope my life doesn’t ever depend on the GSDF, with typically poor English language skills, and no experience of counter-terrorism operations.
Militarism is just a red herring!
Yes, you read that right, but no, I am not back tracking!
It’s just worse than we thought.
I had been laboring under the false belief that Sick-note and the right-wing revisionists were seeking to revise the law to make it easier to change the constitution without a public referendum in order to change Article 9 and militarize the country for the sake of right wing pride. However, whilst they still may attempt to do that, the whole truth is in fact much darker, wide reaching, and sickening. For details, please read Gavan McCormack’s excellent analysis. If you aren’t so scared that you want to leave Japan after that, you are delusional.
Sick-note is the ring leader of several rightist groups whose objectives are outright denial and historical revision of Japan’s war-time wrong doing,and the ‘rolling-back’ of western style democracy to imperial era fascism. In his previous stint as Prime Minister, he infuriated European and American policy makers to the point where he was forced to step down because, as one insider puts it, ‘there wasn’t a single thing the US would talk to him about’. Now, whilst publicly pledging to make ties with the US stronger, he is seeking to use the threat of out-right war with the US to bully China, and starting a currency war with the US and Europe.
Why is this important to us at Debito.org?
Well, the fact that such opinions, connections, and facts can remain hidden from the Japanese public says so much about the failures of Japanese journalism, but more importantly says so much about the public that elected him. This is not the story of a disorganized collection of individuals with some over-lapping beliefs, but rather the story of a concerted effort by organizations of politicians and business leaders to take Japan back to the imperial era since the 1950’s.
Read McCormack, and then seriously tell me if you think that NJ have got even a glimmer of hope in a country where the public are voting for a man whose main objective is to take away their own freedoms.
From above; Abe’s thinking as part of his ambition to re-design the state included his adoption of key terms such as “beautiful country” (also the title of his book published as he came into office)5 and “love.” He insisted that the state be loved. Japan’s top business leader, Keidanren chief Mitarai Fujio, agreed, adding that Japanese workers should also love both their country and their corporations.6 It is hard to think of any other 21st century state, save perhaps North Korea, whose citizens and workers are exhorted to love their state and their employers.
Basically, this is fascism. You have to love the state and the capitalists- the return of the Zaibatsu.
I was about to make some witty comment to say how similar Abe’s designs are to the Chinese Communist Party’s “national education”drive much resisted in Hong Kong, but at least they do not insist you have love your company as well!!
Abe government membership of right-wing, neo-nationalist, groups;
This excellent article shows the memberships and affiliations of Japans new government members with groups whose explicit aim is to change the constitution in order to remove personal freedoms, and recreate an (imagined) 1930’s (their choice of words, not mine) society based on Emperor centered society of ‘love of the nation’, that precludes non-Japanese citizens.
The apologists would have you believe that we are up against nothing more than a few random old geezers with out of date views, simply unaware of how offensive they come across, and that we are being ‘hyper-sensitive’ about it. The truth is that there is an official, although discrete, group of organizations actively working against personal freedoms and human rights in Japan from the top down.
With all these groups, no wonder some of the nations politcians have no time to run the country.
US Senator denounces Japanese nationalist e-mail ‘bombing’ of US Senators denying Japan’s wartime atrocities (29th Jan, 2013);
A far cry from Germany, who despite acknowledging its past war time atrocities and making every effort to prevent it happening again and apologising, still, 60years alter, still, wish to open up all the nasty issues in the closet of their history.
“…German investigators have opened a new inquiry into the wartime massacre of 642 people by SS troops in the central French village of Oradour-sur-Glane.
Until Japan does this, the isolation it has imposed upon itself, will get worse, by the additional cold shoulder from its “allies”, over this continual denial and lack of contrite in their behaviour. Japan is becoming more and more immature on the global stage, thus the never ending head in the sand, hoping it will just go away…as is the norm for “business in Japan”!
@JohnK (#73) Care for some first-hand (me being German) anecdotal evidence? When you’re German, the Japanese will often let their guard down somewhat. It seems many have this concept of “Germans and Japans are friends, and of all those dangerous and chaotic Western countries, Germany is the most Japan-like.”
I had people (mostly men, but unfortunately not only old men) tell me things like “We’re friends, because our grandfathers fought together”, and “Germany has become too soft, and should go back to the golden era of prussian militarism,” and, when I replied that nobody in their right mind would want to go back to those times, classic “Hitler did a lot of good things for Germany, too!”
Of course, this is due to the education system which allegedly teaches them strange ideas about post-WWII Germany being a “victim” nation like Japan. Oh how I’d love to tell them how much Germans would despise Japan if they could be bothered to learn about the extent of nationalism, xenophobia, chauvinism, corruption, and unwillingness to admit its history.
@ above“Hitler did a lot of good things for Germany, too!”???
Who the hell says that? Seriously, that is like saying “The Devil…is he all bad?” I am curious as what kind of Japanese person is so tactless or so drunk to raise these issues with Germans.Who were they?
Oh, OK. Unit 731 did some good things in Manchuria too? would be my response. Completely insensitive.
And I suspect the “Gaijin as curious entertainment” factor was also present, coupled with “they are gaijin so I can say what I want”. Like certain individuals who greet me with “how the fck are you man?” in English while being extremely polite in Japanese.
Also there was a Nazi chic factor in 80s Japan, maybe a belated punk fashion, although I am happy to report that I did see a swastika adorned guy in Akihabara being picked up by the police and taken away (peacefully) in their car, presumably for questioning (I hope it wasnt a police escort for his own protection) in 2008.
Horribly insensitive. Any Japanese bringing up Hitler, Tojo’s old mate, is just asking for trouble.
— We’re getting off track.
Alright, my final prediction (although I may be open to specific requests);
Finally, I remembered some stuff I read a couple of years ago about the dire state of Japan’s national debt;
and how hyperinflation could be the easiest way for the J-gov to get out of this hole;
and I was thinking, ”Sick-note’ keeps saying that he wants to devalue the JPY in order to make Japanese exports more attractive in order to boost the economy BUT what if he really does want to cause hyperinflation in order to pay off the National Debt (and to hell with the regular Taro, whose quality of life- and life savings- will go down the toilet)’?
Gee, the ‘regular Taro’ would get pretty angry if his cash and savings became worthless, wouldn’t he? I guess we might see some civil disobedience then, unless…
What if ‘Sick-note’ had the power to change the constitution first, in order to make protests and demonstrations illegal? What if ‘Sick-note’ changed to constitution to roll civil liberties all the way back to the 1930’s (just like McCormack outlines here; http://www.japanfocus.org/-Gavan-McCormack/3873)? If he did, why then ‘Sick-note’ would be able to cause as much financial and economic pain to the regular Taro as he wanted to, right? But first, he has to remove the democratic safeguards from the constitution….
Then I saw this today;
All the comments are getting hung up on Art. 9 and the SDF, which is a red herring. The ‘Blinky’ engineered tensions with China over the Senkaku’s are a fake to ratchet up the J-populations fear levels, so that they won’t ask too many questions when the time comes to change the constitution (just the same way all the comments on the article have missed the point).
So, ‘Sick-note’ is using the politics of fear, nationalism, and fake patriotism in order to push through changes to the constitution that will allow him to remove democratic and human rights, in order to induce a massive amount of hyperinflation, so that him and all his Japan Inc. J-elite entitlement addict chums can lord it over the rest of the Japanese (who will be reduced, once again, to indentured serfs). Kind of like North Korea, but maybe with a lot more ‘cuteness’.
Sound far-fetched? Yeah, I know, but I saw this today also;
And I was thinking, ‘seriously, when did you last have to buy something with cash, that even in 10,000 JPY notes, was so heavy that you wished a higher denomination was issued by the Bank of Japan’? I wish I had so much 10,000 JPY notes to carry around every day that it was a serious burden….maybe soon I will have to, just to buy a liter or gasoline.
The only hope will be (as with last time- see McCormack again), that ‘Sick-note’ enrages US and Euro politicians again, that Japan is effectively unofficially ‘persona non grata’ until ‘Sick-note’ is forced to step down for a second time.
With Germany’s Merkel and the EU accusing ‘Sick-note’ of starting a currency war;
And NY State Senators slapping down Japanese nationalists attempts to stop NY from memorializing ‘Comfort Women’;
I believe that the clock is well and truly running yet once more on the international community’s patience with ‘Sick-note’.
Since Japan really does need the threat of invoking an all-out war with it’s ally (the US) in order to deter China from responding to all of the J-nationalists grand-standing, it is a race against time to see how much of the rightist agenda can be implemented before the LDP has to replace ‘Sick-note’ and play nice with the international community, or risk being alienated by the US and REALLY being vulnerable to China.
@Fly (#74) Debito, sorry to further derail this, but I was asked directly so here is a short answer:
“(Hitler did a lot of good things for Germany, too!) Who the hell says that? (…) Who were they?”
A middle-aged Japanese man who I had the “pleasure” to sit next to on the plane from Frankfurt to Tokyo. Not drunk. Works in the automotive industry, so he probably had attended Japanese universities.
Here are some more:
Tokudane, January 18th “こうした中で、18日放送のとくダネでは、この大気汚染が日本に影響を及ぼしている可能性に触れた” (http://www.j-cast.com/2013/01/19161881.html)
I have meet similar people myself. The indoctrination is beyond measure. My wife, whom is highly educated, expert in critical thinking (owing to her profession), studied at University in the UK and live for many years in the UK. Thus all the halls marks of objective, rational evidence based observations etc. Yet when I mentioned that Ishihara was an old racist git…she said..nah, he’s not racist just old and says silly things!! Talk about catching flies with my mouth open as it dropped to the floor!
I’m not wholly sure how the letting one’s currency devalue will help Japan. About 3-4 years ago, just before the crash the pound yen was circa 250 rate (then dropped to 120 where its been until last month), and had been slowly climbing over the previous 5 years from its nominal 200 to the pound during the 90s. The same basic trend can be found with the dollar yen rate. Thus the ex/c rate was far better just a few years ago and consistently for well over a decade, yet this higher ex/c rate period did nothing to revive the economy during the previous decade…and I dont see it ever will either.
“It’s not the exchange rate stupid”…I think should be the new motto 🙂
A slight side issue, but nonetheless related to Japans growing right-ist incalcitrance to “outside” interface in their own world vision. Another country publically preventing Japan from doing “its deeds” hoping no one will care or notice.
“..Australia has protested to Japan after a vessel from its whaling fleet entered Australia’s exclusive economic zone in the Southern Ocean…Australia is taking legal action against the whaling in an international court….”
31 January 2013 Last updated at 22:15 ET
Australia protests to Japan over whaling ship
Australia has protested to Japan after a vessel from its whaling fleet entered Australia’s exclusive economic zone in the Southern Ocean.
Environment Minister Tony Burke said Australia had made it clear to Japan that whaling vessels were not welcome.
Japan’s fleet hunts whales each year as part of what it says is a scientific research programme.
Australia is taking legal action against the whaling in an international court.
There has been a ban on commercial whaling for 25 years, but Japan catches about 1,000 whales each year for what it calls research. Critics say it is commercial whaling in another guise.
“The government strongly objects to whaling vessels passing through Australian territorial seas or our exclusive economic zone,” Mr Burke said in a statement late on Thursday.
“Our embassy in Tokyo has conveyed these sentiments directly to the Japanese government.”
The Japanese fleet set sail for the Southern Ocean late last year. It aims to catch up to 935 minke whales and up to 50 fin whales.
In recent years, however, it has ended the season well short of these numbers because of disruption caused by conservation group Sea Shepherd, which follows the fleet south each year.
Last year the whalers were granted an injunction by a US court banning Sea Shepherd from coming within 500 yards. Sea Shepherd have questioned the legality of the ruling and have sailed south to track the fleet.
@ John K #79
I don’t mean to sound curt, just writing on the blasted iPhone, but look at the second link I posted. It shows how hyperinflation will help the J-gov pay off the massive national debt. I’m not an economics expert, but that guy is, so I would defer to his greater knowledge.
I am no economist either. But considering the report was written almost 2 years ago, I would say QED!
BTW..none taken 🙂
@ John K#72
Read the first link. What does it say will happen due to Japan’s national debt repayments when the J-gov attempts to raise interest rates?
Whether I read the first link or second link, made no difference…as every economist has their own answer, of which there are many, and those same economist predicting XX or YY, didn’t predict the crash in 2008. So what credibility is there amongst them? The second link is out of date already in its predictions….so again, no credibility.
Money in…money out. …exports.
Japan is an export nation lead economy. It has failed to address this with the rise in China and other Asian nations with their cheaper products/services. The vast amounts of money inside Japan will stay here, it’ll just go around the merry circle with the Govt desperately trying to get its hands on it to pay for its ineptitude. Why do you think most Japanese have several bank accounts in different banks and spreading their perceived wealth?…and why do you think giving a ‘gift’ above a certain value is taxable and why those giving gifts have found ways around such as selling it for 1yen etc..or where selling a house means you must pay 50% capital gains is taxable and so on (in the days of the bubble, houses no longer go up in price here). The Govt has done nothing to earn money so it is trying to get its hands on the large sums of money that is sitting in banks and under old ladies mattresses..and pay for its covered up mistakes which are slowly emerging.
If the ex/c rate plummets to heights such as 400 pound-yen (or dollar) and higher, do you think the average citizen will remain dormant as they have all been trained to be…it won’t become another Zimbabwe..but, it’ll change for sure, but how, is far far too much speculation and on many other events that all play a role. Since economist can’t even predict global crashes, why would their predictions on events way way down the line be consider any more “factual”?
Japan is in a mess, a really serious mess….until this is truly conveyed to the average citizen and real hard choices made by politicians, it shall remain so…but all doom and gloom assumes it shall continue in perpetuity. Japan may be many things….good and bad…but it is not going to committee economic seppuku. The decisions and choices it makes won’t be made by the same incumbent right wing idiots of today to get it out of the mess. It may be made by right-wing idiots in the future, but when they have little to protect to begin with as “its” all gone, a new bread will emerge with more power to affect real change owing to the existing power bases diminished to the point of being impudent. The question is when is the ‘cross over’ and how much power can they ultimately yield to affect real change, is the unknown.
Japan went from a 3rd world country to a power house in 1 generation…there is no reason why it is not possible to do so again…even before or after it crashes…the rest, is just speculation.
— We’re getting off track.
@ John K #84
‘Whether I read the first link or second link, made no difference’.
Ok, now I see where you’re coming from. You’re offering opinions without having actually having read what I linked.
That’s the kind of ‘I know best’ attitude that leads you to statements such as;
‘Japan went from a 3rd world country to a power house in 1 generation…there is no reason why it is not possible to do so again’, which (had you done some reading before making the statement- ‘Post-war Japan as History’; Gordon) would have informed you that massive technology transfer and cash injections from the US during the Korean and Vietnam wars are what made Japan’s rise to being ‘a power house in 1 generation’ possible, not some ‘innate Japanese quality’.
You are repeating another ‘myth of Japanese uniqueness’; that the Japanese have some innate quality that allows them to make massive successes out of adversity. This is a myth that all (except Debito.org) bought into and repeated after March 11th 2011, the same myth that Abenomics is wishing on, and the same myth that hasn’t proved itself true despite 20 years of government spending programs leading to the worlds highest National debt: GDP ratio.
‘Japan went from a 3rd world country to a power house in 1 generation…there is no reason why it is not possible to do so again…even before or after it crashes…the rest, is just speculation.’
They moved up because the CIA sponsored Japan’s ruling party (which is LDP) since the early 1950s. That helped LDP-ruled government to establish their own economic trade blocs and funnel trillions of dollars into big J corporations that made Japan to top 5 largest economic power house. It’s less likely to see that Japan will revert back to where it was in 19th century, but chronic economic recession and their downfall since 1997 show that Japanese uniqueness is not as forceful as it used to be in the 70s & 80s. Why? Because the PM Cabinet Office and ministries have been keeping screwing national economy by bad decisions on spending for years since the end of the Bubble Era.
I see you’re now resorting to assuming because a different position is taken or maintained from your own, thus, one surely could not have read the link, because one must be ignorant. The links, both of them, are 2 years old. Their assertions have not come true. Certainly not in the time scales they are suggesting. However, because I disagree with your interpretation of them (yes I have read them), you have made gross and incorrect assumptions.
I like to keep an objective mind when reading economists stories of doom and gloom or bright rays of sunshine and not be suckered into them simply because it sits well with my own personal views on a subject. It is clear you have accepted their arguments, fine. But because I don’t, your first assumptions is that I haven’t read them??….gesss!!!
As for the 3rd to 1st world.
Again, you’re making gross and incorrect assumptions about my statement. However their rise was achieved, it occurred. I made no reference to how or why, for good reasons; it is just a statement of fact. You’re now assuming that because it was supported, that without support it won’t be, or there will be no support from “another” and nor could it occur again. I personally believe that Japan is heading for the clappers (as I have stated many times on here), but just because I believe this, doesn’t make it so…and blind faith in your own assumptions and beliefs makes you no better than the Japanese and their indoctrination of blind conformity. Ascertains require facts. Those reports of what will occur (i.e. from 2 years ago) are not support by today’s facts. If you wish to continue to believe their claims to be true this, that is your prerogative. I don’t.
And where oh where does my post repeat a tired old mantra of Japanese uniqueness, other than your own yet again incorrect assumptions based on and incorrect comprehension of my post??..wow, you must really have been smoking something today…or worse.
It seems you’re making overly gross and incorrect assumptions and where such statements do not agree with your own interpretations you revert to apply pure conjecture for some reason other than…well..not sure to be honest. Your comments are no better than those apologists that wish to explain away discrimination as isolated or misinterpreted etc for the very same reasons.
There is a significant difference between opinion and fact. I have no problems people disagreeing with my opinion….but it is no better or worse than someone else’s, especially in the absence of facts to support them. A report that uses “facts” from 2 years ago to base a predication which is subsequently not supported by today’s facts makes such statements even harder to consider as authoritative.
Apologies for the slight digression. But I take exception to when someone wishes to place words into my mouth or twist my comments to their own agenda without substance, especially when attempting to paint me with a brush that is so far removed from their assumptions it is laughable.
— Alright. One more comment on this from each of you then, if you must, then take it off list.
@ John K #87
You haven’t really got anything to say, except that you don’t like the links because they’re ‘2 years out of date’.
Everything after that is all ‘he said/she said’. You make misleading comments (whether I read it or not’) your, to pull me into an argument about putting words in mouth, or what you did or didn’t say. Troll much?
Could have saved you, me, and Debito a little time by being less ambiguous in the first place.
*sigh*…The usual when faced with an impasse, resort to the lowest common denominator, QED…you don’t like an opposing view, and this is your only retort as some strange attempt to save face perhaps?? I see this is a common ‘when all else fails’ retort you have.
Either support your disagreement of my opinion with facts, or accept it is an opposing view.. (note: view not claim!)..or can you not sleep at night knowing someone doesn’t agree with your opinions?? Most odd behaviour.
First rule of any debate…establish clear common and accepted definitions when at variations in opinions. You failed to do so. Any subsequent ambiguity is all of your own making based upon your assumptions rather than seeking any clarification.
Now off list.. 🙂
Thanks. Thread closed.